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Pesky Apophis

9 March 2021

Apophis, the space rock at the heart of Nicholas Costa's book, 'Adam to Apophis' is in the news at https://spaceweather.com … [March 8th 2021]. On April 13th, in the year of 2029, Apophis will pay a close visit to the earth – so close we will be able to see it with naked eye vision. Not only that, it is scheduled to come close again, in 2036. Perhaps it has come close in years gone by.

The asteroid Apophis flew past  earth in a practise run this year – but the nearest it got was 16 million km away. In spite of that it didn't stop some folk following it and the link has a video by Alberto Qiljano Vodniza of Colombia. Quite remarkable as he was using a 14 inch telescope to capture the images. The video lasts 10 minutes and is well worth a look.

Apophis is about 370 m in width. Its orbit has been carefully worked out for its visits in 2029 and 2036 and it will not collide with our planet, we are told. Which is okay as doomsday is bearable if it is a long way in the future – but is it. Apophis is set to return on another close encounter with the earth 30 years later. It seems that in 2029 it will come as close as 32,000 km away where it might get entangled with orbiting satellites. Even that is debateable. Whatever happens it will be affected in some way by earth's gravity, it is thought, and this may change its rate of spin [but not its trajectory, we are assured]. NASA, the Chinese, the ESA, and various other space agencies around the world, will be looking to get a more detailed handle on the asteroid and its surface. It is a prime opportunity to gain a lot of information on space rocks.

As a matter of interest, various other people, have taken images of Apophis this year, from Italy, the Czech Republic, and one Robert Forrest of Market Harborough in Leicestershire.

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